Tuesday, December 12, 2017

29 Days - Advent Reflections: Day 8

I've always been fascinated with the story of Joseph - not the Technicolor Dreamcoat Joseph, but the earthly father of Jesus Joseph.  He's a bit of a silent type.  Scripture doesn't record where Joseph spoke a word, but he did listen and he did act a number of times.  If we really pay attention to Joseph's actions, we learn that those speak louder than his words.  Exactly what did Joseph do?  The first thing we are told about Joseph is that when he discovered that his fiancee was pregnant and the child was not his, he planned to separate from her and do it quietly.  That says something about his sense of decency and grace.  He didn't make a fuss about it (at least is wasn't reported as such).  He made a plan that would diffuse a potentially difficult situation.

The next thing we know, Joseph is visited in a dream by an angel who gives him some advice on what he needs to do next in this very sensitive situation.  The angel tells him not to be concerned to take Mary as his wife.  There are great plans for the child that she is carrying.  The angel even tells him the name to give him "Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21)  Scripture says that when Joseph woke up, he did exactly what the angel told him.  He took Mary as his wife. 

The next thing that Matthew tells us about Joseph is fast forwarded a few years.  The wise men had just visited Jesus and his family in the house in which they were living when the angel appeared to him again in a dream.  He was told to take the child to Egypt to keep them safe, because "Herod is going to search for the child to kill him".  (Matthew 2:13)  The biblical record says Joseph got up and took his family to Egypt where they stayed until Herod was no longer a threat.  

Then another angel visitant in a dream (it seems as though Josephs in the Bible were dreamers) told him to bring Jesus and his family back to Israel.  He would up in Nazareth, where he and Mary raised their family in relative quiet, at least according to what we don't hear from scripture.

The example that Joseph sets for us is one of quiet obedience.  At least according to the written record, he never says a negative word.  He simply obeys.  It's a great example for us today.  Responding to God's instruction by simple obedience.  

Do your actions speak louder than words?

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